New York's composer collective Anti-Social Music (ASM) are a group of jail-house rules misfits who found seem to have the time among scrounging up rent to put out a debut, a collaboration with the Gena Rowlands band, and this, their third offering entitled Fracture. ASM takes cues from many different styles of music, while guiding it with an avant-classical approach. It's various members include Hold Steady keyboardist Franz Nicolay on accordian, Gutbucket member Ken Thompson on clarinet and sax, who also a member of The World/Inferno Friendship Society alongside Peter Hess, who also contributes on various woodwinds.

According to their Myspace, the 11 members are well versed in several different types of musicology. Not only those expected members, trained in classical and jazz composition, but also music auteurs, world tour rock and rollers, anti-establishment cretins, cult members, and hipsters. Each piece of the ASM jigsaw gives the album such an alarming set of tracks.

Obviously, chamber-pigfuck has not taken off as a genre but what certainly has, is the blurring of jazz with classical with rock and roll with punk. For ASM this seems a bod, in large part, to progenitors such as Naked City (and other Tzadik projects), Glenn Branca, Rhys Chatham and others. What puts ASM in a new light is the fact rather than a cohesive group of musicians looking into new horizons, the members are all coming from differing backgrounds and looking inward.

Herding ASM into "third-stream" is a little uncalled for. They more are outer-edge, modern classical. Gumdrops and Kittens serves up what could be called a "gnarly" opening riff on guitar/violin. The jarring swell sloughs off into a tense climax and enters into the albums first real movement Fracture IV. Here, the group is in a purely cinematic form. In dipping in and out of sections featuring fluttering winds, clunky piano, and low, moaning brass sections. These larger tracks, running over 10 minutes, including String Quartet No. 2 and PortRait_7 have the group maintaining improvised discipline and working the songs up to more frantic parts or vice versa. shitfuckcumbastard is an uncomfortable, daunting yet beautifully layered track. A tapestry of trembling strings and accordion fall in place behind short, staccato tenor sax hits which slowly go from spiritual Coltrane-like to frantic, hoarse Shepp-like. Although the album is drum-less, the groups series of Broken Aphorisms (eight of which appear here) have low, orchestral anchoring in using cello, violin, and trombone with piercing highs of dual flautists. With the help of accordion and pianist/keyboards, all of these work towards a sinking ship of middle range for a very interesting sounding conference.

This album isn't exactly approachable, but people who can appreciate rather intense post-rock, left-field third-stream, and meat grinder modern classical should find something.


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